Sanctions on Syria, Scandal in College Football, and Gorbachev’s Legacy: Today’s Here and Now

by Laura Ellis on August 18, 2011

1:06pm: The White House is announcing new sanctions on Syria and tells the country’s president, Bashar Assad, to step down. The move comes after five months of anti-government protests and a government crackdown that has killed over 1,800 civilians. A UN report released today says the Syrian crackdown “may amount to crimes against humanity,” and recommends that the Syrian regime be brought before the International Criminal Court for trail. So what effect with the White House’s statements have on the ground? We’ll ask Borzou Daragahi, Beirut Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times.

1:35pm: Nevin Shapiro told a reporter for Yahoo! Sports that he provided money, nightlife, yacht excursions and women to more than 70 football players at the University of Miami. Shapiro says he was able to do this because he was a generous booster of sports at UM. The school’s president, Donna Shalala, said she was unaware that this was happening. We’ll find out how such gifts could have stayed under the radar, and what the repercussions from the NCAA might be.

1:40pm: 20 years ago this week, there was an attempted coup to try to stop the reforms of President Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup failed, but led to the end of the Soviet Union and over 70 years of the Communist empire — an astonishing historical turnaround. Many people thought the USSR and the Cold War might go on indefinitely. So how did Gorbachev – a product of the Communist system – emerge as the reformer who launched the process that destroyed it? The BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall spent time with Mikhail Gorbachev and has a report.

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